This article originally appeared in the Just for Teens Issue


Once, my father told me I was a useless piece of shit. Then, he told me I’d become an even bigger, hornier piece of shit when I hit puberty. I was so happy he was talking to me. It was probably the best birthday of my life.

Sure enough, the changes started seven years later on my thirteenth birthday, right after my friends threw me into an industrial waste bin as a present. The first thing that happened is I got really hairy, like a long-tailed weasel in the winter. It was all over the bottom of my feet and underneath my fingernails and around my genitals. I looked totally different from everyone else, although I guess I never saw their genitals.

Then, my fourth nipple fell off.  It was scary but I was relieved that I could finally walk around naked in public without the shame of having an abnormal number of nipples.

My left ear grows a few more acres of earwax than my right ear now.  It’s like my right ear is the present fertility rate and my left ear is the pre-1950’s fertility rate.  Thank the sweet lord Beelzebub that it’s not the other way around. I like my right ear way more than my left one. I’m like King Solomon from the Bible in that one story where God tells him to make loaves and fishes for the entire crowd but he only makes loaves because he’s scared of fish.

Unfortunately, not everything about my changing body is “totally radical.” Losing the same molar every week only for a larger one to grow in its place is incredibly painful. I can smell colors and read Korean proverbs, but never at the same time. But at the end of the day, I know it’s for the best that my innards are being purified like a goat before ritual sacrifice. The worst part is now the ‘rents say they don’t love me to my face instead of just standing outside my bedroom door and yelling about how I’m the reason they hate each other and should probably get a divorce while I’m trying to fall asleep. But I guess that’s just part of growing up.


—A. Kane